Father John-Michael Lavelle
From the Pastor
“Hospitality to all who enter”
These words are etched above the entrance to my former seminary, which was once the monastery of the Benedictine Community of Saint Vincent in Latrobe, PA. Today, in addition to being the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, is also the Feast of Saint Benedict. Listed in the Rule of Saint Benedict is the need to greet each person as Christ himself, with hospitality and love. I thank you for your incredible hospitality and welcome last weekend as I began my time as your pastor. Your generosity of spirit and your love for your parish has certainly made me feel at home. After each Mass, many people asked a variety of questions. There is always great curiosity about the new pastor, in any parish. I would like to answer a few of those frequently asked questions, and then throw in a few random “likes” and “favorites”, just to round it out and make it a true “20 Questions”.
1. What do we call you?
Father Lavelle – I have always used my last name
2. How old are you?
53 years old – born 21 April 1968
3. Where did you grow up?
Hubbard – born and raised
4. Do you have much family in the area?
My mother, Nancy, and my sister Kristin, her husband, Josh, and their children, Michael, Brayden, and Abigail, all reside in Hubbard. My father, Jack, and sister, Wendy are deceased.
5. Where did you go to school?
I attended Saint Patrick Elementary School and Hubbard High School. I then graduated from Youngstown State University, with a B.S. in Ed.
6. And Seminary?
I attended Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA, graduating with a Master’s Degree in Divinity and a Master’s Degree in Religious Education. Post Ordination, I received a Doctorate in Ministry from Saint Mary Seminary in Cleveland (my dissertation was on the physical and spiritual renewal of parish communities).
7. How long have you been ordained?
21 years – 27 May 2000 at Saint Columba Cathedral by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin.
8. What nationality are you?
Predominantly Irish, with a small mix of English and Scottish – despite the French sounding last name. I have also spent the last 9 years in an Italian parish – so while I am very proud of my ethnicity, I appreciate the pride every person has of their own, and love experiencing different cultures and traditions.
9. Who is your favorite Saint?
Thomas More. He died “the King’s good servant, but God’s first”. I would like to think I could do the same.
10. What is your favorite line in Scripture?
“The Lord loves a cheerful giver” – 2 Corinthians 9:7
11. What is your favorite color?
12. What is your favorite meal?
My mother’s Ham and Scalloped Potatoes. But I can usually find something on any menu in any restaurant.
13. Biggest pet peeve?
Abbreviations – I just don’t understand why we can’t type a few more letters. Thus, the “Father” Lavelle and “Saint” Michael Parish.
14. Favorite Professional Athlete?
Tennis’ GOAT – Roger Federer
15. Favorite Television Program?
“The Crown” – although highly fictionalized – extremely well done.
16. Last Musical or Play I saw?
“Come From Away” – the true story of when 38 international planes all landed on 9-11 in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, doubling the population of the community.
17. Most memorable travel experience?
I have been very blessed with many vacations, tours and mission trips, it would be hard to select one. So, staying in the U.S., I would say the time I attended the 2017 Tony Awards – 2nd row balcony. Seeing a major awards show live is incredible.
18. The person I would like most to meet but probably never will?
Her Majesty, the Queen. 95 years of lived history, wisdom and duty and we share the same birthday.
19. The worst job I ever had?
When I was in high school, I worked summer maintenance at the schools and waxed the entire fleet of buses. The cruel irony is that I was always a “walker” until I drove – never rode one of those buses.
20. The best job I ever had?
The one I have now!!
This is just a little about me – More importantly, I look forward to getting to know more about all of you. Over the coming weeks, I look forward to meeting with various groups and organizations in the parish as we continue to emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic and work to build up our parish community. Again, thank you for your generous hospitality and warm welcome.
On the wings of an angel we rise!